Homecoming


My childhood home in Dearborn, Michigan and the semi-wild area behind it holds a strong position in my memory. Many hours were spent in solitude in those familiar surroundings playing and contemplating nature, metaphysics and my own mortality as I watched the landscape change with the seasons. Right behind my house there was a huge storm drain system that allowed the overflow from the street to flow into the Rouge River, mixing with raw sewage. Despite this constant reminder of how the infrastructure of my daily life was harming the environment, the surrounding natural wilderness was full of life, surprisingly diverse and in many ways idyllic and pastoral. Finally, after more than 50 years, the city was mandated to update the system to prevent further pollution in a multimillion dollar sewer project. While I welcomed the long overdue clean up, I was saddened to witness the destruction of familiar trees and other natural landmarks. I began photographing this changing landscape as well as my parents’ home during return trips to visit my father while he was slowly dying of cancer. My personal sense of loss coincided with the destruction of a familiar natural setting and the slow decline and decay of an aging house. As I continue to photograph after my father’s passing, the series has become a metaphor for the loss of innocence and memory through an irrevocably changing landscape and house that slowly falls into neglect. As my father faded away, so did my childhood playground and the warmth of a secure home. My mother still lives there, and I continue to visit, but you really can’t go home again.